National Federation of the Blind Announces 2020 Scholarship Program Finalists

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National Federation of the Blind Announces 2020 Scholarship Program Finalists

Baltimore, Maryland (May 6, 2020): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s leading advocate for equal education of the blind, today announced the finalists for its annual scholarship program, which provides financial assistance and connects students with mentoring and other resources. The thirty scholarship finalists are listed below in alphabetical order with their home states and vocational goals.

  • Deiascha-Britte Bancayanvega, Rhode Island: Healthcare Inclusion
  • Robert (Rob) Blachowicz, Arkansas: Counseling
  • Christopher (Chris) Bove, Rhode Island: Public Service
  • Brianna (Bri) Broadwater, Maryland: Psychologist or Education
  • Sean Carlson, Oregon: Vocational Rehabilitation Instructor
  • Natalie Charbonneau, Oregon: Animal Genetics and Conservation Research
  • Moreblessings Chikavanga, Texas: Civil Rights/Disability Law
  • Kevin Darcy, Colorado: Anthropology Professor
  • Matthew Duffell-Hoffman, South Carolina: Electrical Engineer
  • Paxton Franke, North Dakota: Forensic Pathology
  • Lauren (Elaine) Hardin, Georgia: Higher Education Student Affairs Administrator
  • Kaitlyn (Kat) Hippe, Wisconsin: Languages and Education
  • Emily Kiehl, Ohio: Information Technology
  • Josh Loebner, Tennessee: Inclusive Advertising
  • Sara Luna, Illinois: Museum Accessibility
  • Victor Marques, Michigan: Vision Rehabilitation Therapist and Access Technology Specialist
  • Griffin Miller, Pennsylvania: Actuary
  • Jillian Skye Milton, New Jersey: Accessible Technology Development
  • Marissa Nissley, New Jersey: Attorney
  • Sherry Pablo, California: Public Health, Health Policy and Management
  • Precious Perez, Massachusetts: Music Education
  • Teresita Rios, California: Attorney
  • Dannielle Schutz, Nebraska: Medical Scientist
  • Nicolas (Nick) Spohn, Pennsylvania: Mechanical Engineer
  • Logan Stenzel, Minnesota: Finance and Technology Entrepreneur
  • Marie Villaneda, Indiana: Orientation and Mobility Instructor 
  • Monica Wegner, Minnesota: Corporate Attorney
  • Alek Wolfe, Vermont: Broadcasting
  • Brayan Zamarripa, Oklahoma: Media Production

“The scholarship program is one of our most important initiatives, and we will not allow anything—including the COVID-19 pandemic—to diminish our commitment to recognizing excellence among blind students,” said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “We are proud to honor these blind scholars, each of whom are raising expectations and breaking down barriers. The accomplishments of these outstanding students are proof that we, the blind of this nation, can live the lives we want; blindness does not hold us back.”

For more information about the National Federation of the Blind scholarship program, visit

*Please note that this announcement has been updated as of September 8, 2020.

Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
410-659-9314, extension 2330
410-262-1281 (cell)